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2014 Harleys: Born to be styled

2013-08-21 08:24


NEW DAWN FOR HARLEY: The pinnacle of Harley-Davidson factory custom craftsmanship has been extended to four new limited edition models for 2014. Image: Harley-Davidson


Bike columnist DAVE FALL took a piece of two-wheeled history back in time on a ride from Cape Town to Hermanus - the long way round - on a Harley-Davidson Softail.

Back in April 2013 Wheels24 caught up with William “Bill” Davidson, great-grandson of the founder of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle empire, at South Africa's Margate Bike Week (hosted by H-D) and he alluded to the fact that 2013 was proving "something of a cracker” for the company.

Shareholders even got a dividend, he told us, "something that not every motorcycle manufacturer was able to do in the current global financial climate".

Watch the new Fat Bob intro video

Davidson intimated at the same that there was some great news ahead [focusing on next year’s ambitious line-up, 2014], and true to his word an announcement came earlier this week to just what exactly customers could expect from the largest motorcycle company in the world and most definitely due in South African Harley-Davidson showrooms over the next few weeks.


A four-years-in-the-making strategy plan codenamed Project Rushmore has now reached fruition with new front-to-back styling, a new twin-cooled engine (on some models) and more – apparently as a direct result of feedback collected from the millions of Harley-Davidson riders from every part of the globe.

In a nutshell, Project Rushmore aims to open up riding – and specifically touring/crusing – to a new generation of riders with significant improvements over earlier models to deliver an even better riding experience.  (Although “Bill” Davidson was only in South Africa for a couple of weeks he still managed to get away from all the paperwork and tour a small part of the country on one of his motorcycles – two up at that – and is certainly qualified to understand what civilised motorcycle touring is all about and why we love this form of motorcycling so much in SA.)


Current owners and prospective customers can look forward for starters to refreshed Fat Bob styling, a new CVO (customer vehicle operations) Softail Deluxe and 1200 Sportster range that will have anti-lock brakes as standard – excluding the 883cc Sportster models for now. The Sportster line up will also feature new hand controls and brake components, improved service access, and an H-D Smart Security System with a proximity-based, hands-free, security fob.

Seven additional touring models and a trike have been upgraded for model-year 2014 – most of which will have Bluetooth-enabled Boom! Box infotainment systems and satnav, Daymaker LED headlights, a new fairing with "splitstream" venting and a Twin-Cooled High Output Twin Cam 103 (1690cc) power train that’ll be standard fare on all H-D Dyna and Softail units from now on.


There are also improvements to many of the components found in the curent range in this The Company's 110th anniversary year – some of which are arguably just aesthetic, such as the reshaped Tour-Pak saddlebags with convenient One-Touch design elements, sleeker mudguards, lighter cast-aluminium wheels and intuitive hand-control switches.

Major changes, will be found in the 2014 CVO series of limited-production motorcycles such as the new CVO Softail Deluxe, a premium custom touring motorcycle equipped with a detachable windscreen and satnav, Daymaker LED lighting, detachable saddlebags and of course the bold paint and big Screamin’ Eagle power train that’s always part of the CVO programme.

Naturally, there’s a whole raft of dazzling new paint schemes – we did kind of expect that from Harley-Davidson, didn’t we!
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